Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975



Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975

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Parliamentary Record 5


Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly


Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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pages 457 - 498

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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480 preparation of the budget. It will be interesting, when that glorious day is reached, to hear the relative executive members defending against all-comers the budget they have prepared. Surely we must agree that, when money is finite as it always is, there will never be the perfect budget. There are a couple of obvious omissions from the Civil Works Program. One glaring omission is the lack of any mention of a detoxification centre. Unless I misread the Civil Works Program, there is also no mention of a specific psychiatric unit. These 2 things are overdue by about 10 years and with the unfortunate position of people post-Tracy, living in peculiar circumstances, strangers being forced to live together, both of these facilities have become a crude necessity. I am sorry that the administrative expenses of the Darwin Reconstruction Commission have not been shown in detail. Its one line allocation in the budget and its supporting material only showed salaries and other general expenses. What I would like to see is the way in which the figures for salaries and expenses were arrived at. Is it for the appointment of permanent staff members? Is it for the continuation of people to act in a consultant position? In what proportions, if both of these are to continue, are they listed? How did they arrive at the figure of $2lhm for administrative expenses? I am concerned that, regarding the reconstruction, repair and new work for schools, we find one glaring omission-the Nightc1iff Primary School. Under Education on page 10 1 of the Civil Works Program, we see a reference to Nightcliff. This is for proposed new works but it is listed as erection of extensions to Rapid Creek Primary School-$1.6m. I agree with the honourable member for Jingili and I am glad that Rapid Creek Primary School is getting such a large slice of the cake. But if the Department of Education, in its isolated wisdom, thinks Rapid Creek Primary School will be able to cater for all the children of the Rapid Creek, Millner and Nightc1iff areas, I am afraid they are going to be sadly mistaken. One would also wonder if they thought that the Nightc1iff High School could continue in its present role of accepting primary school children. Having no faith at all in the tortuous collective minds of the Department of Education, I would point out that it is a decision of the Nightcliff High School Board that next year the high school DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 shall offer the full range of high school facilities. On the assumption of that becoming a reality, there will not be space available for primary school children. Mention was made that the Department of Education will supply demountables for Nightcliff Primary School in the coming year. I have known about that for months and I think everyone in Nightcliffwas aware of it. It will provide for an immediate need. No one in the Nightcliff area, not one parent whose child attends school, expected that a new school would be built, but what they did expect and were led to expect, was that a school would be programmed, finance made available, plans drawn up and the whole train of process for the building of the new Nightc1iff Primary School would have commenced in the coming year. If the Education D~partment thinks the parents of Nightcliff will accept no reassurance as to the rehabilitation of their school in the finite sense, they are sadly misled. The people of Nightcliff will go direct to the Minister and insist that the children receive a good edu<;ation. We would be prepared to accept demountables for 2 years and would hope that the teachers would cooperate and be prepared to teach in less than optimum surroundings, but only on the indication that the light at the end of the tunnel is apparent and the children will only by in these demountables whilst the proper school is being built. . I touched briefly on the lack of any planrung for a detoxification centre. I am critical of the present policy of the Reconstruction Commission in putting two demountables or two caravans on one small Darwin town area lease. It is bad enough if you have 2 reasonable families with perhaps one child each, no pets and a tremendously high tolerance level. But very few people are in that state. Most of us have likes and dislikes, most of us have more than one child and when you come to a family group, most of us have pets. How then can you expect two diverse family groups to exist happily on a small Darwin town area lease without prior consultation? How can you expect this to go happily without realising that there will be a tremendous need for additional services such as family counselling, assistance in school services, the provision of detoxification centres, with attendant staff, and psychiatric services. It may have passed by honourable members' attention although they have the "Darwin Drunks" report in front of them,

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